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Dozens of potential independent news publishers descended upon the Multimedia Newswoom at Montclair State University on March 11, 2014 for a day of training on “How to Start a News Site.” The event was the first of many in the NJ News Commons’ latest round of Grow and Strengthen, a project aimed at seeding and incubating local news sites across New Jersey.

We heard from the director of the Center for Cooperative Media, Ju-Don Roberts on some of the things you should be thinking about before you decide to go ahead with the launch of your site. For instance, you might want to ask yourself, “Am I ready for the workload?” While many harbor fairytale notions of what it’s like to start their own business, few are actually preparef for the volume of work and dedication that’s required to get your business off the ground.

We also heard from Jeff Jarvis, a professor at the CUNY School of Journalism. Jarvis explained the concept of the news ecosystem, provided us with insights on what the news business looks like today, and urged us to “Do what you do best, and link to the rest.” He also went on to break down the basic steps of building your news business by creating quality content, building your audience, and establishing sustainable sources of revenue.

Other presenters included digital media consultant and entrepreneur coach Joe Michaud, Baristanet founder and NJ News Commons Director Debbie Galant, David Lackey of The Alternative Press, and Ken Katzgrau and John Crepezzi of Broadstreet Ads.